“to­kens” on TV T

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

V’S Asian-Amer­i­can char­ac­ters are so fre­quently slighted that even pro­grams set in the big­gest, most di­verse cities leave them out of the pic­ture, a new study found.

For “To­kens on the Small Screen,” pro­fes­sors and schol­ars at six Cal­i­for­nia uni­ver­si­ties looked at 242 broad­cast, ca­ble and dig­i­tal plat­form shows that aired dur­ing the 2015-16 sea­son and tal­lied the numbers, screen time and por­tray­als of char­ac­ters of Asian or Pa­cific Is­lan­der de­scent among 2,000 TV char­ac­ters.

The re­port re­leased Tues­day, a fol­low-up to broad­cast TV stud­ies done in 2005 and 2006, found in­creas­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for AsianAmer­i­can ac­tors but con­cluded they are still un­der­rep­re­sented and “their char­ac­ters re­main marginal­ized and to­k­enized on screen.”

There was a sense of op­ti­mism with the emer­gence of ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Dr. Ken” and Net­flix’s “Mas­ter of None,” all star­ring and fo­cused on Asian-Amer­i­cans, said Nancy Wang Yuen, a Bi­ola Univer­sity as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor and one of the study’s au­thors.

“It felt like, ‘Oh, we’re finally mak­ing it,’” Yuen said in an in­ter­view. “But even (“Dr. Ken” star) Ken Jeong said, “Of this many shows, we only have three?’”

The can­cel­la­tions of Jeong’s sit­com and the Net­flix his­tor­i­cal drama “Marco Polo,” which fea­tured a hefty num­ber of Asian char­ac­ters, showed how ten­u­ous the hold on rep­re­sen­ta­tion is, the study said.

A third (34.5 per­cent) of all Asian or Asian-Amer­i­can char­ac­ters were found to be on just 11 shows — with the 14 char­ac­ters on “Marco Polo” alone mak­ing up 10pc of the to­tal — which sets up a “risk of greater dec­i­ma­tion when net­works de­cide to can­cel even one show,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

The con­cen­tra­tion of char­ac­ters on a few shows also means that many view­ers never see an Asian-Amer­i­can on screen, which the study says “ef­fec­tively erases” them from a large part of the TV land­scape.

There are 155 shows that lack a sin­gle Asian-Amer­i­can char­ac­ter, in­clud­ing 63 of broad­cast and ba­sic ca­ble se­ries and 74pc of pre­mium ca­ble shows, the study found.

The ex­clu­sion is star­tling on shows set in ur­ban ar­eas. Among all New York-based shows, which has an Asian-Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion of 13pc, 70pc of shows lacked a sin­gle se­ries reg­u­lar of that eth­nic­ity. More than 50pc of shows set in Los An­ge­les, with a pop­u­la­tion that’s 14pc Asian, lacked any such char­ac­ters. – AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.